Rain In March – Romana Iorga


It’s always the same every year: 
rescue teams fight the current, pick up 
the oddballs who wished for excitement 
and got plenty. Those who thrash about 
in the shallows, certain they’ll make 
the headlines, are left to their own devices. 
Why do I wish to be here alone, the day 
already gone, swept down river? 
I still think what you did to yourself
is unforgivable. My memory of you 
is not the same, its stem dwarfed 
by the breath of some invisible god.


I climb a staircase looking for symbols 
where there aren’t any. What if this 
house was meant to be mine? 
The staircase coils up into the ceiling, 
a pledge of salvation on a small scale. 
The windows open a wall toward the river—
the brown inside of a pustule—swollen, 
tender, but mine. Its current runs 
back and forth, in and out of this house, 
never asleep, never awake enough 
to drown me. I know I’ll never move out. 


We talked in bed one night. The floors 
creaked with silence. We remembered 
the airport, people’s hands shooting down 
for their luggage, the man with Stalin’s 
moustache who gave us a ride home. 
We clang to each other, waited for words 
to do what words do. Later, the shadow 
played through my fingers. I broke 
the flute like a twig, watched the grass 
grow blue in heavy rain. Where it ached, 
I ached. I was afraid of my hands, 
my webbed hands that knew no rest. 


I love this rain because it is. I love 
its absence because it doesn’t hurt. 
The voice at dawn was someone’s 
I couldn’t bear to hear. I saw the weight 
of broken glass on your wrists, 
the knee of a starved floor in your face. 
The stain, the howl. It was the beginning 
of loss, a passage into the wilderness 
you had always known was in me. 
The breath of a sky on torn shoulders, 
the typical cringe in the snow, both 
dated and hip. As if death were 
the affirmation one’s worth dying for.


I’m still climbing this staircase. 
Those who watch me are skeptical. 
Windows slam at my breath. The Pisces 
lean out of their sign—a constellation 
eroded of meaning. This year, the flood 
has been urgent and thick, a good 
symptom. I don’t know if what I call truth 
will suffice. I turned off all the lights—
now the gallery cries for help. 
In the dark, spring is out for recess.
Romana Iorga

Originally from Chisinau, Moldova, Romana Iorga lives in Switzerland. She is the author of two poetry collections in Romanian. Her work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Stoneboat, The Normal School, Cagibi, PANK, and others, as well as on her poetry blog at clayandbranches.com.

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